Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

Jerry Bowyer: Game of Thrones: Better than the Lord of the Rings?

Hardcore Game of Thrones fans love to tell us how much better those books are than the Lord of the Rings. They think that George R.R. Martin presents a realistic view of war, whereas Tolkien presents a fairy tale. Here’s the problem: only one of those men actually saw war, and it wasn’t Martin.

Tolkien volunteered to fight in the First World War, in which he lost most of his friends. Martin, on the other hand, avoided the Vietnam draft by filing as a conscientious objector.

In Tolkien’s universe, evil is real, but there are genuinely good and noble characters fighting against it. In Martin’s universe, soldiers are almost invariably cruel and sadistic. Tolkien’s view of war, focused on heroism and self-sacrifice, came from manly personal experience. The man who fought found hope. The man who didn’t fight preaches hopelessness.

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Michael Medved: Black Panther’s Misleading Utopia

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“Black Panther” has made movie history as the first smash hit about a black superhero. But even as international audiences savor this splashy entertainment, it’s worth noting some necessary reservations.

 

The dialogue is full of clunky clichés, the plot is convoluted, the lavish sets and costumes look tacky and sometimes tawdry, and the special effects often fail to convince. Despite strong performances from a distinguished cast, the movie creates a totally fictitious African utopia that ignores fundamental truths about civilizations. The story centers on the fantasy kingdom of “Wakanda,” which, in carefully guarded isolation, has developed technological advances that lead the world.

 

In fact, isolation invariably produces stagnation, not progress. Moreover, Wakanda in the movie is a medieval, tribal society, choosing all-powerful rulers through trial by combat and magical incantations. In the real world, advancement and wellbeing grow reliably from democratic, free market institutions, not from authoritarian societies based on brutality and sorcery echoing Game of Thrones.

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